At this time, we require both staff and donors to wear a face covering at blood drives or donation centers. Appointments are also strongly recommended.

In early June 2020, Vitalant began testing all blood donations for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. We are providing this test to help find donors who are positive for antibodies, and who could help COVID-19 patients by becoming future convalescent plasma donors. Whether you test positive or negative for antibodies, we’ll provide you with your antibody test results. Appointments are strongly recommended.

The antibody tests are part of a full panel of tests that Vitalant performs on successful blood donations. Donors are not charged for the tests and costs are subsidized, in part, by The Blood Center Foundation of the Inland Northwest and The Bonfils Blood Center Donor Advised Fund.

As a respiratory virus, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission through blood donation or transfusion.

Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. Because antibodies are part of the body's immune response and not the virus itself, antibody testing cannot be used to diagnose current coronavirus infection. (To tell if someone has an active infection, a viral nucleic acid test on a nose or throat swab is required.) Antibody tests are used to tell if someone had a past infection with SARS-CoV-2. This testing, however, does not indicate whether the antibodies neutralize the virus and protect against reinfection.

While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma and help people who are still recovering from coronavirus infection. Over time, antibody tests and clinical follow-up will provide the medical community with more information on whether a person who has recovered from COVID-19 is immune to the virus and for how long.

Please remember, the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test is NOT a way for you to find out if you are currently infected with this virus. If you are feeling unwell, please do not donate blood. Stay home or seek medical care, as needed, and consider scheduling a donation once you have recovered. We would love to see you then!

We use a test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: the Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics VITROS Immunodiagnostic Products Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total Reagent Pack and Calibrator test. This test can indicate if a donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to the virus, regardless of whether they ever had symptoms.
Our test is one of the highest-performing antibody tests among those to which FDA has granted authorization. It has high sensitivity and specificity, which respectively influence whether a negative test result truly represents lack of prior infection or whether a positive result truly indicates past infection. Test reliability is influenced by the likelihood of someone having had COVID-19 and is related to donor age, history of symptoms and risk factors.
We will likely provide COVID-19 antibody testing on all donations throughout this summer.
Confidential test results (“positive” or “negative”) will be available in your private, online donor account approximately 2 weeks after your donation.
Unfortunately, sometimes a blood sample cannot be tested because of a technical issue (for example, the blood in the sample may have clotted and is not suitable for testing). If this happens, and it’s been more than 2 weeks, donors will not see any test results in their online donor account nor will they receive a mailed letter. If you have any questions, please call us at 877-258-4825.
While you need to give a complete blood donation to receive the antibody test, you do not need an appointment. We strongly recommend that donors schedule an appointment, but it is not required to receive the antibody test. Walk-in donors will receive the antibody test as long as they complete their donation.
Yes. This test is available to donors who successfully complete a whole blood, platelet, double red cell or plasma donation because the antibody test is part of the full panel of tests performed on each complete blood donation. Testing is not performed on incomplete donations.
We are offering antibody testing only for complete donations that will be used for patient transfusion. The antibody test is one of the many tests that we conduct on blood donations.
A positive test result generally means that you have antibodies that resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus. If you have no symptoms, you likely do not have an active infection, but medical follow-up may be appropriate if you had any respiratory symptoms just before or after your donation. False-positive results may occur due to cross-reactivity from pre-existing antibodies or other possible causes.
It’s unclear if these antibodies provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that they do not yet know if antibodies make people immune to the virus.
A negative test result means that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—were not found in your blood. There is also a small chance that this test can give a negative result that is wrong (a false-negative result) or that you were infected but did not produce antibodies. You remain eligible to donate blood and we encourage you to do so to ensure that blood is always available for patients in your community.
No. The COVID-19 antibody test does not test for the presence of COVID-19 disease. The antibody test determines whether the blood contains antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The test does not check for the presence of an active COVID-19 infection.
Having COVID-19 antibodies is not harmful to you, and it is not harmful if transfused to a patient. In fact, these antibodies have special lifesaving potential. Studies have shown that transfusing the plasma from a person who has recovered from the coronavirus (COVID-19 convalescent plasma) into a patient still fighting the virus may help boost the patient’s immune system and potentially assist in recovery.
Not immediately, although your plasma can be used to develop and refine tests for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and to produce SARS-CoV-2 antibody-based medications. During a subsequent donation you may be able to donate what’s known as “convalescent plasma,” which contains antibodies to the disease that can be given directly to patients currently battling COVID-19 to help boost their ability to fight their illness.
Please go to vitalant.org/COVIDfree and complete the webform to learn about becoming a convalescent plasma donor.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated they do not yet know if antibodies make people immune to the virus. Per the CDC: "We currently don't have enough information yet to say whether someone will definitely be immune and protected from reinfection if they have antibodies to the virus."

However, when a patient currently battling COVID-19 receives a convalescent plasma transfusion with a donor's SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, we believe those antibodies help give the patient's immune system a boost to fight the disease and possibly recover from it. This treatment doesn't promise future COVID-19 immunity for the patient because there's still so much unknown about this coronavirus. Convalescent plasma has been used, in some way, shape or form for decades to help those suffering during epidemics and pandemics—as early as the Spanish Flu. Researchers are currently studying its effectiveness and we look forward to seeing those results.
No. We began testing completed donations for COVID-19 antibodies on June 1, 2020, so any donations prior to that date were not tested for the antibodies. However, Vitalant will be testing for COVID-19 antibodies throughout this summer, so we encourage you to schedule your next appointment soon and your donation will be tested at that time.